Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Knife pictures, finally!

It turns out that, even using a convenient service like Blogger, it's still possible for me to neglect writing a new post. That's unfortunate, because there's actually some pretty big news in the works. First things first though, a while back I promised pictures of knives.

This first one is a design I came up with after getting irritated with a pocket knife. When I'm out working in the yard, I typically have a knife clipped to my pocket. However in summer weather I typically wear shorts made of lightweight material, and even if they do have pockets, they're so flexible that it's a royal pain to clip a knife onto them. I figured hanging a knife around my neck was a much better way to carry it around the yard. Of course, if you're going to hang it around your neck, it should be small and comfortable, and easy to use.

It's tough to see from the photo, but the handle is actually sculpted with finger and thumb channels that position the knife just like an extension of your hand. In addition, the micarta handle has been bead blasted to bring out the rough texture of the material and make it easy to grip.

The blade is convex ground 1075 carbon steel, two inches long from tip to handle, and sharp enough to shave the hair on my arm - much to the dismay of my wife. And, like damn near all knives I'm making these days, the blade has been differentially hardened to produce a "hamon" like you might see on Japanese blades - or, in all actuality, really nice knives from any maker that knows about the benefits of differentially hardening the steel they shape, it's just that most people equate the hamon with Japanese smiths.

I constructed the sheath from Kydex and secured it with Chicago screws instead of brass rivets. I opted for that route because it makes it very easy to open the sheath to clean it out, and then close it back up again. If it were riveted closed, you'd have a real ordeal on your hands if sand and dirt got inside.

This particular one isn't for sale. It's a "proof of concept" (can you tell I'm an engineer?) for the actual production run. After I've beat on it for a couple months and decided that it's a good design, I'll start making these on a regular basis. If you want one, send me an email at and let me know. I expect the pricing will be about $75 as shown here. I am, however, probably going to dump the nickel pins, and use stainless steel tube to help secure the handle. I'm not sure I like the solid pins on this knife. Overall the knife is only 3.75" long, and the cutting edge itself is only 2", making it easy to carry around, and won't alarm anyone - well, as long as you don't take it to an airport or anything.

The other design I've got floating around is a variation on a knife that I sent out to another knife maker during a themed exchange. The theme for the exchange was "Gentleman's every day carry", and the knife was designed to be short (about 3" cutting edge) and use ornamental or rare materials - hence the "gentleman" part. To the right is a photo of that knife. The handle is Giraffe bone, with copper bolsters and nickel pins. The blade is also differentially hardened 1075 steel and is razor sharp. I sent it off in hopes that I would get some really critical feedback and be able to hone my skills even further. What came back was compliments and praise - so I guess I made a decent knife. It was actually that incident that indicated to me that I was ready to start offering knives to the general public, rather than making them and sticking them in a drawer or giving them away.

On the left is the knife that is based on the above, but slightly less decorative, and much more usable from a yard work or workshop point of view. It turns out that this is a really nice design for an all-around utilitarian knife. This particular one has a tan kydex sheath, and it also has a belt loop since it's really too big to hang around your neck or stick in your pocket, and should fit belts up to 1.5" wide.

The cutting edge on this 1075 steel blade is a hair over 3", and overall it's about 6.5" long. I kept it short so that if you happened to be at your mother-in-law's house and needed a sharp knife for some reason, you wouldn't give her a panic attack by producing some Rambo-esque implement of mass destruction. I was aiming for a useful blend of utility and tastefulness, something that can be used in a variety of situations, and not alarm the masses should you have it on your person in polite company.

The handle is briarwood, the very same I use for pipes. This particular piece of wood is unstained, and finished only with a couple coats of Danish Oil then lightly buffed. It's a nice satin finish that will age well and continue to be attractive even through hard use. I secured it with some stainless steel tube, and I really like the way it looks in this case. Using tube like this really does interesting things to the handle. I like the way it all works together.

And unlike the knife above, this one is actually for sale. If you're interested in this one, pop me an email and let me know. I haven't made a page for it yet, but it is available immediately for $120 plus shipping (about $6.00 within the US).